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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Envelope System: Month 4

This has been our hardest month by far.  Do I say that every month?  If you were to ask my children about it, they'd tell you they ABSOLUTELY HATE it, but on the other hand, they don't fight it, and it seems like each month they get so they understand just what's going on a little more.

This past month was Christmas.  I had saved as much as I thought was needed, and we did just fine in that regard.  We did our usual gift exchange between the siblings, and that was a BLAST!  I just want to share one sweet experience with that this year....

We went around the circle by giver.  In other words, we started with one person and he/she shared whose name he/she'd chosen and then gave the gift to that person then that person gave to his/her person and so on.  Well, #2 was sick that night and didn't join us.  #4's face fell when it got to his turn and his person to give to wasn't there.  I was so pleased that he was so excited to give to his brother when frequently it's the recipient that's sad about not getting.  Just so pleased that they were so thoughtful in their gifts and took it so seriously that they wanted to make each other happy.

There was one particularly good thing this month and one particularly bad thing.

First, the bad thing....
I learned the value of budgeting EVERY penny.  I had read this before but didn't understand the value of it, so the rebel in me, the I-don't-get-it-so-I'm-not-going-to-do-it part of me, took over.  When I got the budget all made up, I found myself with more than $200 that was just sitting there.  I decided that I wouldn't budget it at all, but I'd pretend it wasn't there.  HaHa!  Yah right.  Who was I fooling?  Pretend it's not there...that's rich!

Well, from day one, I was thinking, oh, that's okay, I have that extra money, I can throw a little of it at this, or I can use it for that extra thing I want.  But, because it wasn't budgeted, I didn't keep that good of track of it.  Ugh!  Stupid!  I will NEVER do that again.

One thing we did buy was a new table, and I have to tell you, it wasn't budgeted, but it was much needed--we'd outgrown our last one, and we were able to sit comfortably on Christmas Eve and eat all together.  We had plenty of room.  We bought it at the Salvation Army at half price.  It didn't have chairs, but we have enough of those.  I'm not picky, I just want to eat together with my family.  So, if you're picky about things matching and looking nice, you probably don't want to eat at my house.

Anyway, I thought it was GREAT!  We had to dip into savings for it, but man, it was so worth it!

The good thing this month was that I was able to to tell the kids why there wasn't the money for that extra stuff at the end of the month, and when I told them what it had been spent on--my last college class and the table, they just nodded and understood.  They're starting to get that money doesn't grow on trees and that there are certain priorities that we have to have when we spend.

So, would I go back to how we were before this knowing what I know now?  NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

I will definitely budget differently next month.  I think I may even present it to the entire family before I go get the cash, so we can be in agreement and each have a voice in what we feel needs to be budgeted for.

For now, though, the biggest complaint is grocery money.  I've GOT to get back into couponing, but the time just isn't there right now.  The kids are continually asking when I'm going grocery shopping again.  They always say there isn't stuff for lunches, but that's SO not true. I mean, we're not at this point yet....

Close, but not yet. Reminds me, gotta get more sardines.  And DARN, #5 sure looks a lot like Macaulay Culkin.  I never noticed that before. 

Anyway, there's got to be a way to do this, so that the grocery budget doesn't suffer every month.  I dove into savings to buy stuff for lunches just the other day, and I really don't want to do that this next month.  A friend shared that she takes just the money she needs for any particular day on that day and leaves the rest hidden away at home in another container.  Maybe if I don't dip into it so easily for other things....I know, genius idea, huh?  So much of it is just a matter of self control....DARN self control!


Diane said...

We had so many months in a row where we got half way through the month and had spent our entire budget. So I moved to a weekly budget and that is working so much better for me because it is easier for me to predict our expenses one week at a time. I am glad that you are finding something that you can stick too. I never understood how much a big family costs until I had one.

Julie said...

I hear you, Diane. Me too. Crazy! Since my husband only gets paid monthly, my mind automatically went to a monthly budget kind of thing but maybe your idea of a weekly budget would work well or could at least be adapted to work in our situation here. Would you be willing to share details of how it works for you? Thanks!

Julie said...

I forgot one other benefit of the envelope system that I believe occurred this month.

When the missing purse post (Drama. Drama. Drama.--Dec. 31, 2011) happened, I'm fairly certain that whoever had my billfold would have taken any cash I had in it if I'd had it in it. Thankfully, my cash holder looks nothing like something that would hold cash; otherwise, I think it would have been gone. PHEW!

I was really sweatin' it that day. That could have been truly disastrous.

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